If you’re struggling to write your personal statement for university it can be really tempting to pay a professional to write it for you. After all, they know what they’re doing, they can do it quickly and easily and you know for certain that what you submit to UCAS will tick all the boxes. Right?
In this article I’m going to be explaining why you should NOT get someone to write your personal statement for you, no matter how tempting it might be.
Get someone to write your personal statement for you
The clue’s in the name. A personal statement is just that. Personal. It should be the account of what you’ve done, the interests you have the opinions, ideas and questions that you’ve developed that have brought you to the point in life where you want to apply to do the course you’ve chosen. (This blog post, although it’s written for Oxbridge applicants, is really helpful to everyone in working out how to tell their story).
No one else will be able to convey the passion and personality that you can put across concerning yourself, particularly a stranger you’ve commissioned to write about you on the internet.
A personal statement is like a short reflective essay you write about why you’re the perfect candidate for the undergraduate degree course/s you’re applying to.
It’s a key part of your Ucas application – alongside your predicted or achieved A-level, Scottish Higher, BTEC etc. grades – and is read by admissions tutors at the universities you apply to, who’ll decide whether to offer you a place or not.
Personal statement examples – get tips and ideas from these examples
It’s important to note that you only write one personal statement, which is seen by all the universities you apply to.
Also, a university personal statement works differently to a personal statement you’d write when applying to a job – so don’t confuse the two.
How long should a personal statement be?
- You have a maximum of 4,000 characters and 47 lines to write your personal statement.
- That might seem a lot (or maybe not enough) from the outset, but your perspective might change as you begin writing and have to boil down all those relevant thoughts, skills and experiences.
- It’s best to draft your statement and get it finalised in a Word document, and then copy this over to Ucas’ system to submit it, rather than make changes afterwards.
Write My Personal Statement Guidelines
Engage your reader from the first sentence. Regardless of the topic you choose, your reader’s interest must be captured in the first sentence. Out of thousands of essays, why should yours stand out? A perfect introduction will leap out to the reader and grab their attention. The best way to do this is through as much detail as you can muster. If you have chosen a sport or activity you excel in, show your reader through your words a split second of what participating in the activity is like. Write as if you are telling a story: what was the setting? What was the weather like? Were there other people there? What emotions were coursing through you at that exact moment?
Many students will begin their essays, “The most life-changing/important/difficult moment in my life has been___.” Over time, admissions officers will lose steam over the constant repetition, and all essays that begin as such will fail to make an impact. Make it easier for your reader to remember you by writing a story as your introduction. The more specific detail you add in, the more the reader will get into the story and the more sold they’ll be on you. 3. Ask yourself “So What?” As with any good essay, you should spend at least a paragraph explaining the “so what?” aspect of your essay. If you have chosen a specific activity to write about, in addition to writing about the activity itself, colleges want to know why this particular activity has made an impact on your life. So you’ve been playing baseball for the last ten years, so what? Perhaps playing baseball taught you teamwork, or made you appreciate the value of practice and determination in achieving your goals. As this is a college essay with a point to make about your character, a substantial portion of your essay should answer the “so what?” question. Colleges want to know how you have grown as a person through your own experiences and how they have changed you, and stating why such experiences were important to you aid in convincing admissions officers that their school could use more students like you. If your detail and story-like aspect of your essay comes at the beginning, your “so what?” moment should wrap up your essay, connecting your activity in question with the purpose behind your choice of topic.
Another misconception about the essay I think people have, is that you need to be an amazing writer. You absolutely need to write well, as in try to construct a compelling, easy-to-follow narrative. But you don’t have to be a literary protégé and have the admissions officers ooh and ahh at your flowery language, allusions, and subtle symbolism. Just write how you write. I am not a fan of writing first-person prose or writing about myself. I didn’t love my essay when I submitted it and looking back I like it even less. However, I did the best that I could do at the time and it worked in my favor.
Lastly, I recommend staying away from those “Essays that worked” books (even though Harvard sells those in its bookstore, unfortunately). Technically, you can say that the essay worked in that it didn’t cause their application to be rejected. But maybe it was only so-so or only worked because it completed the story the student had been telling with their entire application. There are other components of the applications that those books don’t show. The personal statement is an important part, but it is disingenuous to say that it worked without having any context for the other parts of the applications.
So, to end this I’ll leave you with a few last pieces of advice. When writing your essay don’t be afraid to take a few risks, but make sure you are still being true to who you are. When you begin writing, consider asking yourself questions such as: “What would my application be incomplete without?” and “What do I want to show the admissions officers that hasn’t already been shown on this application?”These will help drive you to potential topics.
Constructing your personal essay will probably be a long, slow process, but don’t be afraid. You can and you will get it done.